ALWAYS WAS, ALWAYS WILL BE: Stunning local NAIDOC story
THE sights and sounds of our local First Nation people greeted many of us on Facebook this morning, and for the co-ordinator of a stunning video for NAIDOC week the hope is that the messages will last well into the future.
The five-minute video (shown above) was co-ordinated by Bianca Monaghan and shot by Thunderbox Films, with its message narrated by elders of the local nations.
“We had to think outside the box with NAIDOC this year,” Ms Monaghan said. “NAIDOC was meant to be in July but was postponed to November for COVID, and there’s a lot of restrictions even now.
“I didn’t feel comfortable bringing some of the most vulnerable out into the community for actual events, so thought maybe it’s a good opportunity to talk to some of the elders on here.”
Ms Monaghan said the narrative developed naturally, with each of the elder’s stories and thoughts on why NAIDOC was important to them.
“It really was for them about the next generation stepping up, and making sure they’re sharing their culture, so it really took on an organic course with what they said.”
The video features the young members of the local nations in their local environment, showing a strong connection to their culture and the stories told in the past, including dancing in the smoky sun-soaked shoreline of the Clarence.
“The kids are really strong in their culture,” Ms Monaghan said. “When they grow up with it, it becomes who they are, it’s not like an out of school activity. This is who they are, and their responsibility for their land and their culture.”
Ms Monaghan said she felt privileged to sit with each of the elders, often for hours, to hear their stories in creating the video.
“I feel blessed I got to sit with them, they got to choose the space they wanted to sit and to hear them happy to share their stories and culture, I was blessed,” she said.
NAIDOC week was first and foremost a celebration Ms Monaghan said, but also a time for others to learn.
“I think it’s about celebrating first nation people of this country, but it’s great for education and coming together,” she said.
“But I also think what’s most important about NAIDOC is to remember to embrace First Nation people every week, not just one.”
And as a personal piece of pride, Ms Monaghan’s children are in the video, her youngest Maisie dancing, and nine-year-old Lennox who plays the didgeridoo as the video fades out.
“He’s more than confident to play,” she said. “He’s actually going to play at the Twilight Markets this week with the orchestra and some solo stuff.
“I think as a parent it’s one of your biggest responsibilities: to raise your kids to know the culture and where they are. It’s one of my biggest responsibilities.”
More videos of talks with the local elders as well as other community members are on the Grafton NAIDOC Facebook page.